With 60% of wood taken from the world’s forest burnt as fuel and much of it ending up as charcoal for sale in shops, TFT is examining charcoal supply chains to make sure they are responsible
As of January 2019, The Forest Trust has become Earthworm Foundation.
A hugely popular source of energy for industry, charcoal use is on the rise and expected to rise further because of energy demands and fossil fuel energy price increases coupled with population growth and continued urbanisation. Charcoal is also very popular at home – anyone who enjoys a barbeque will be familiar with the handy charcoal briquettes used to get the fire going.
The issue is that charcoal often comes from countries were laws are weak and deforestation rates are huge. It is perhaps not surprising to see how the line can be blurred when you consider that an average of seven tonnes of wood is needed to produce one tonne of charcoal.
In Brazil alone, around 7.9 million tonnes of charcoal is produced every year for the pig iron industry, and charcoal from producer countries in Africa such as Nigeria, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire makes its way onto European retailer shelves as charcoal briquettes. In France, around 60% of the estimated 120,000 tonnes of charcoal used each year is imported, half of it from Nigeria.
On behalf of our European retail members, TFT is tracing charcoal back to the wood source and is working on the ground in Nigeria and other countries to assess how the producer forests are being managed.
Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified charcoal is still low in supply and not able to satisfy market demands in Europe, which makes it even more important to ensure that charcoal on shop floors comes from responsibly-managed forests.
By acting on the ground, digging into the supply chain, we plan to have every element that will help us make the product story of charcoal a good one for all.